Common Sense

Front Cover
Penguin Books, 1986 - History - 128 pages
23 Reviews
Published anonymously in 1776, six months before the Declaration of Independence, Paine's Common Sensewas a radical and impassioned call for America to free itself from British rule and to set up an independent republican government. Savagely attacking hereditary kingship and aristocratic institutions, Paine urged a new beginning for his adopted country in which personal freedom and social equality would be upheld, and economic and cultural progress encouraged. His pamphlet was the first to speak directly to a mass audience - it went through fifty-six editions within a year of publication - and its assertive and often caustic style embodied the democratic spirit he advocated, and converted thousands of citizens to the cause of American independence.

Isaac Kramnick's introduction examines Paine's life and work within the context of the political and social changes taking place in Europe and America in the late eighteenth century.

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KNOW YOUR HISTORY

User Review  - lasereyes - Overstock.com

A must read for anyone who wants to learn about where we came from and how we got into the mess we are in today. Even back then they saw that corruption and greed would be the ruin of this country ... Read full review

Review: Common Sense (Great Ideas)

User Review  - Lora Leigh - Goodreads

Yay! I read some nonfiction for once! This was surprisingly easy to read, and was definitely thought-provoking as to what role government should have in society. Something every American should read! (Of course, most people probably already have, and I am just a little slow on the uptake). Read full review

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About the author (1986)

Thomas Paine was born in Thetford, England, in 1737, the son of a staymaker. He had little schooling and worked at a number of jobs, including tax collector, a position he lost for agitating for an increase in excisemen's pay. Persuaded by Benjamin Franklin, he emigrated to America in 1774. In 1776 he began his American Crisis series of thirteen pamphlets, and also published the incalculably influential Common Sense, which established Paine not only as a truly revolutionary thinker, but as the American Revolution's fiercest political theorist. In 1787 Paine returned to Europe, where he became involved in revolutionary politics.

In England his books were burned by the public hangman. Escaping to France, Paine took part in drafting the French constitution and voted against the king's execution. He was imprisoned for a year and narrowly missed execution himself. In 1802 he returned to America and lived in New York State, poor, ill and largely despised for his extremism and so-called atheism (he was in fact a deist). Thomas Paine died in 1809. His body was exhumed by William Cobbett, and the remains were taken to England for a memorial burial. Unfortunately, the remains were subsequently lost.

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